Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why Is Department of Defense Withholding Documents on Robert Bales?

Three years after Afghanistan killings, military again refuses to release report on Robert Bales
The News Tribune
Staff writer
July 1, 2015

The Defense Department is again denying a Freedom of Information Act request from The News Tribune seeking the release of an investigation into commanders who oversaw Staff Sgt. Robert Bales before he snapped and killed 16 Afghan civilians in March 2012.

A FOIA officer from U.S. Central Command on Tuesday told the newspaper that its latest request for the document would be declined under an exemption that allows the government to withhold information that could influence an ongoing law enforcement investigation.

The News Tribune has been seeking the report since August 2013, when Bales was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Army in March also rejected a clemency request Bales submitted to Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps.

Bales was a JBLM Stryker soldier serving at a small Special Operations outpost in Kandahar Province with a team from the 7th Special Forces Group when he twice sneaked out of the base to murder civilians sleeping in separate nearby villages.

Maj. Alison Aguilar, spokeswoman for Army Special Operations Command, said Wednesday that all disciplinary proceedings for that group of Green Berets have been completed.

As The News Tribune previously reported, one Green Beret was discharged from the military because he provided steroids to Bales. Another soldier from the Special Forces team received a reprimand for drinking alcohol on the deployment. One more was discharged from the Army because of a separate civilian criminal investigation that began before he arrived in Afghanistan.
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